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Is Pepper Spray Legal?

pepper spray keychain

Pepper spray, also known as OC spray, is a very popular self defense tool for women. It’s effective, easy to carry, and often cheap to purchase.

An additional advantage to carrying OC spray is that the laws can be less restrictive than some other self defense weapons, such as knives or guns. A self defense weapon won’t do you any good if you can’t carry it, or don’t feel comfortable carrying it in the first place. What’s most important is that you have protection on you at all times, because you never know when you’re going to need it.

Unlike firearms, where even if you have a license to conceal carry, you may often see signs that prohibit you to enter into certain buildings with a firearm on your person—OC spray can be carried essentially anywhere. Also, many can easily fit in your pocket, or even clip on to a keychain. With the right formula, it can incapacitate your attacker for up to 45 minutes, and give you ample time to escape to safety.

A major advantage of OC spray is that it’s legal in every single state. However, some states do pose restrictions on the amount you can legally carry, as well as certain requirements for purchasing it. In this article you’ll find a guide on which states pose restrictions on pepper spray, and what those restrictions are. As a general rule, OC spray is not legal to carry as a weapon to attack others; it is legal to carry only for self defense. Also, it needs to be stored in cool and dry locations, so you may notice that restrictions on the amount of pepper spray that can be legally carried is a common trend in warmer climates.

To aid in the process of selecting OC spray that’s legal to carry in your state, when you shop online, the website should provide a disclaimer that informs you which states have prohibited the ordering of that OC spray. This will allow you to have peace of mind when you place your order.

So, what restrictions should you be aware of? Let’s cover them.

New York

For good reason, people commonly ask if pepper spray is legal in NY. This state does pose several restrictions, so let’s cover them. First, you must be over the age of 18 to purchase and carry pepper spray. Also, you cannot have a felony. If you have a felony, it’s not legal to carry OC spray in NY. Also, you cannot mail it for use against humans to NY. Other than these restrictions, OC spray is legal to carry for self defense in NY.


California pepper spray laws

Another frequently asked question is whether pepper spray is legal in CA. Yes, OC spray is legal in CA, however, you’re not able to carry a canister that exceeds 2.5oz fluid ounces. A 2.5oz canister of OC spray, if deployed correctly, can still effectively stop or slow down an attack.


Another state that poses serious restrictions to pepper spray carry is Hawaii. In Hawaii the container can be no larger than ½ oz. Also, you need a license to carry OC spray in Hawaii. Most pepper spray canisters start at 1.5oz, so it’s more difficult to find pepper spray that’s legal to carry in this state. However, Fox Labs Mean Green pepper spray is available in a 15 gram canister.

New Jersey

Is pepper spray legal in NJ? Yes, but NJ poses similar restrictions as NY. You have to be over the age of 18 to purchase pepper spray, and if you have a felony you cannot legally carry it in NJ. Additionally, you cannot carry a pepper spray that’s over ¾ oz. This is a very small amount, so you may decide to carry two or three canisters of pepper spray on your person or in another location that’s consistent. The Fox Labs mean green pepper spray in a 15 gram canister is also a good option for this state.

Alaska & Arkansas

Alaska pepper spray laws

In Alaska, it’s legal to carry pepper spray, but it’s not legal to carry in a school unless you’re 21 years old. In Arkansas, the container has to be less than 5oz. However, most pepper spray canisters don’t exceed 4oz, so this restriction will not in any way hinder self defense.


Is pepper spray legal in Florida? Yes, however, in Florida, you cannot carry a pepper spray container that’s larger than 2oz. For people who want to carry pepper spray in Florida, Fox Labs offers pepper spray in 1.5oz, and Sabre offers 1.8oz canisters, among many other reputable brands.


Wisconsin also poses restrictions on OC spray carry. Like Florida, you cannot carry a can of OC spray that exceeds 2oz. Also, in Wisconsin, you cannot carry pepper spray that has an OC content that exceeds 10%. That being said, OC content of 10% is fairly standard, so you shouldn’t have too many problems finding a pepper spray that’s compliant with Wisconsin regulations.

North Carolina

North Carolina pepper spray laws

Like Arkansas, in North Carolina, you cannot carry OC spray can that exceeds 5oz. Once again, this is not a considerable limitation considering most OC spray canisters don’t exceed 4oz.


In Massachusetts, pepper spray cannot be carried by convicted felons. Like many other states, you have to be 18 years old to purchase, and OC sprays that are to be used against humans can’t be mailed to the state. Animal sprays are legal in this state.


Is pepper spray legal in Michigan? Yes, however, Michigan also poses restrictions. You cannot carry OC spray that exceeds 1.2oz. Additionally, the OC spray can’t contain a concentration of OC that’s above 18%. Also, it can’t contain a capsaicin content of more than 1.4%.


Washington is unique in that it allows you to purchase pepper spray at the age of 14, as long as you have parental permission.

Paisley Saris Tactica Gun Blogger

About the Author

Born in Arizona, Paisley Saris graduated in 2019 from North Idaho College, and will continue her education at Gonzaga University in the fall. She lives in North Idaho with her Husband and two step kids. She’s a passionate advocate for the 2nd amendment, and on her off days she enjoys the outdoors and spending time at the range.

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